Somme Commemoration Event, Southwater, Telford, 14th July 2016
Schools from across Shropshire will be participating in a remembrance event to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. About 200 pupils will be converging on Southwater, Telford on the 14th July. The event is being held on this date to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. This was the worst day, in terms of losses, of the KSLI’s history.
Soldiers from across the area – Wellington, Shrewsbury, Clive, Madeley, Dawley, Ketley, Tibberton, Lilleshall, Newport, Lawley, Oakengates, Coalbrookdale, Priorslee – are being commemorated. Schools have been carrying out research and making banners to commemorate their local soldiers.
About 50 banners are being created with the support of Katy Whitehouse, a textiles artist. The banners are all made out of hessian and individually decorated by the schools. Some schools are involving whole classes, after school clubs or even whole year groups. A range of year groups from Year 3 to Year 9 are involved in the project.
At the event, the pupils will assemble by the Library and parade, in formation, from Southwater to the Arena space. There will be an opening address and Lt Col Trelawny will be giving a short speech on behalf of the Rifles Association. Individual pupils will also be reading poetry or short profiles on the soldiers they have learnt about. During the event, we will have music from Old Park and Langley School Bands, organised by Ian Worton of the Schools Music Service.
The project is being co-ordinated by Martin Phillips, Local Heritage Education Manager for West Midlands, Historic England with support from Justine Ranson, of Telford Culture Zone. Martin said “the response has been brilliant and the staff and pupils have shown tremendous enthusiasm for the project, for researching and for remembering the sacrifices made by local soldiers”.